Waterfowling Trophies: One for the Wall

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Here's Your Ultimate Taxidermy-Quest Guide

Harlequin Duck, Northwestern Washington

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1 | Harlequin Duck, Northwestern Washington

Washington is the only state in the Lower 48 where a ’fowler can take a drake harlequin for the wall. Research and hire a guide who knows the program. And bring your camera, as the scenery is incredible.

Photo © Images on the Wildside

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Pintail, Central California

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2 | Pintail, Central California

The Pacific Flyway winters most of the sprigs that pass through the United States, and California’s Sacramento Valley is a fantastic place to find them. Public opportunities abound, but there’s sure to be a waiting line.

Photo © M.D. Johnson

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Cinnamon Teal, Great Salt Lake

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3 | Cinnamon Teal, Great Salt Lake

Go in October for your best shot at a prime drake. It’s an airboat show on the Great Salt Lake, which is an adventure in itself. Experienced guides are the way to go.

Photo © Jeffrey Weymier/Shutterstock

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Wood Duck, Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee

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4 | Wood Duck, Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee

There are plenty of places to cross paths with Aix sponsa throughout the season. However, Reelfoot offers fantastic early-season duck hunting and slab crappies and ’gills. Make a week of it.

Photo © M.D. Johnson

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Specklebellies, Central Kansas

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5 | Specklebellies, Central Kansas

White-front populations are expanding across the four flyways, and few areas offer better hunting for these incredible barred bellies than central Kansas. The Cheyenne Bottom Complex is a good jumping-off point.

Photo © Tom Rassuchine/Banded

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Common Eider, Maine

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6 | Common Eider, Maine

The birds are as rugged and as beautiful as the New England coast. Shotshells that pack plenty of punch are a must-have. So is an appetite for lobster and clam chowder.

Photo © M.D. Johnson

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Canvasback, Mississippi River

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7 | Canvasback, Mississippi River

Pool 9 near Lynxville, Wisconsin, sees peak numbers of 300,000 to 400,000 canvasbacks, putting this portion of the Old Man on any duck hunter’s bucket list. Big boat blinds are the way to go.

Photo © Bill Konway

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Aleutian Canada Goose, Humboldt County, California

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8 | Aleutian Canada Goose, Humboldt County, California

These challenging Canadas-in-miniature have seen off-the-charts population increases the past 20 years. Big limits and a spring season attract hunters from across the country to Humboldt County.

Photo © M.D. Johnson

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Eurasian Wigeon, Oregon Coast

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9 | Eurasian Wigeon, Oregon Coast

Head to the Oregon coastal marshes during late January for a chance at one of North America’s most unique avian trophies: the Eurasian wigeon. No guarantees, but lots of ducks.

Photo © M.D. Johnson

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Black Duck, Delaware Bay

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10 | Black Duck, Delaware Bay

Any of the tidal marshes or smaller rivers along the shores of Delaware Bay can be a hot ticket for black ducks come November. The limit is two per day now, for the first time in almost 30 years.

Photo © Bill Konway

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Tree Ducks, Lake Okeechobee, Florida

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11 | Tree Ducks, Lake Okeechobee, Florida

If you’ve never had an 8-foot ’gator steal your duck, here’s your chance. Here, too, you’ll find fulvous whistling ducks, black-bellied tree ducks and, if you’re lucky, a mottled duck.

Photo © Images on the Wildside

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So, you have a problem. There’s some empty space on the wall of your trophy room — not much, but enough for, say, four or five bird mounts. Trouble is, you really need to make these count. Where do you go? And what do you (hopefully) bring back?

You want a bucket list? Here’s the bucket list.

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